These wafer-thin Italian cookies are easy to make, look fantastic on any table and will have your guests ooh-and-ahhing at your baking genius. Okay, maybe not the latter but they sure are delicious and impressive!!
Before we get going let me just say that this is my very first “recipe from scratch” post, which means neither the write-up nor the end result will be 100% perfect. In the steps below, I’ll describe my process – flaws and all – hopefully you’ll learn from my experience. But you’re welcome to skip all that and jump to the recipe.
Also note: This recipe does require you to have a Pizzelle Press (NOT the same as a waffle iron) that can be easily purchase from Amazon or your local Italian grocery store.
Here we go!! The recipe itself is a very simple mixture of eggs, flour, sugar, oil and some lemon extract. If you want to get daring, swap out the lemon extract for almond or vanilla. You could skip the extract altogether and add some cocoa for a rich, chocolatey pizzelle. Some recipes call for baking powder but I skipped that because I wanted my pizzella to be crisper, less bready. Once the ingredients are mixed, the batter will be very thick and sticky. This is perfect.
My Zia Elena was kind enough to give me her recipe and Pizzelle Press. It’s not the fancy non-stick kind you’d find today but I love the sturdy iron and the pattern was so pretty. I’ll admit this thing scared the bejeezus out of me… I mean, look at it! My press didn’t come with instructions and I couldn’t figure out how I’d get the batter not to stick or even how to get it out of those deep crevices. Turns out there was nothing to fear.
You’ll need to follow the manufacturer’s directions for your press. With mine, the trick was to get it super-hot, then grease the iron with some shortening. You could probably use oil as well but avoid cooking spray, which could burn easily and damage your surface. I prefer shortening because it doesn’t change the flavour of my baking and I have better luck with stuff not burning or sticking. Avoid butter because it contains water that will cause your baked goods to stick and it will most definitely change the flavour.
Once I figured out the batter and the grill, I had to fiddle with how much batter to use each time. With the first one, I tried to spread the batter over the grill. WRONG. I couldn’t spread the batter fast enough and once the lid closed, the batter oozed out the sides. I also didn’t push the top down far enough. My observant daughter suggested I squeeze the handles tight so the latch would engage. She’s a smart one, that girl 😉 After a few tries, I learned that I only needed to add about a tablespoon of batter right in the middle. The force of the press did the rest of the work and spread the batter evenly through the deep grooves. I also settled on about a minute to bake them, which gave my pizzelle a nice golden tone without browning. Using a fork, I gently loosened them from the top and placed them on a cooling rack.
Ironically, the best one was the very last where I had less batter but the Pizzelle turned out super thin. So clearly, I still have to finesse my batter game but I’ll get there eventually. Now, a word of caution. These are hot coming off the grill but they cool super-fast and become crispy. You’ll need to work fast but don’t panic, just remove one at a time. Once they’re cooled, you may want to use some kitchen scissors to finish the edges. I didn’t do this for my first batch but I was just so impressed they turned out that I didn’t need the extra hassle.
Voila! Finished Pizzelle!
Everyone loved them and I’m super excited to make them again. With the basics under my belt I’m going to experiment with different flavours. Stay tuned as I’m sure you’ll see this pop up again in future in some way, shape or form.
Once you give these tasty treats a try, let us know how it worked out for you in the comments below!
Italian Pizzelle Recipe
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 tablespoon Lemon Extract (or other flavour of your choice)
- Using a fork, beat eggs by hand until mixed but not frothy.
- Add flour, sugar, oil and extract. Mix well. The batter should look like a thick paste.
- Plug in your press and allow it to get very hot. During this time, the batter will continue to thicken. Once the press is heated, lightly grease it with some shortening on a paper towel.
- Place one tablespoon of the batter in the middle of the Pizzelle pattern. Close the press tightly. Cooking time can take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, depending on your manufacturer instructions.
- Open the press and using a fork or spatula, gently pull the Pizzelle off and transfer to a wire cooling rack immediately.
- Allow to cool completely and enjoy!!